The Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria has been battling an influx of Covid-19 patients over the past few weeks, prompting them to put up tents and use other measure, in order to avoid having to turn patients away.
The Gauteng Department of Health has confirmed that the hospital is under strain, and that picture and videos of patients being treated in makeshift emergency units at the facility are authentic.
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In a statement, the department’s spokesperson Kwara Kekana said: “The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) can confirm that the images making the rounds on social media are of Steve Biko Academic Hospital (SBAH) in the Tshwane District.
Guys is it true this is Steve Biko hospital ???? ????????????????… Y’all be careful out there pls???????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/N7c6MZwrg9
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“The facility noted a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 patients since December 2020. The increased number of patients are sicker and require critical care, with some arriving in groups and putting serious pressure on the facility. Some of the patients the hospital is receiving are coming from private facilities because of lack of space, while others are selfreferred (sic) from other provinces such as North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.”
Kekana said the department converted the Tshwane District Hospital into a Covid-19 treatment facility last year, which operates in partnership with Steve Biko as a Covid-19 treatment complex, in order to increase designated bed space for Covid-19 patients.
“The complex is currently under pressure especially with regards to the patients that require specialist immediate attention and therefore can be treated in only certain hospitals, that are also overwhelmed. The SBAH Emergency Unit entrance has an area that has a roof, designed to handle disasters of especially patients in the emergency category Priority 3 (P3s), of which patients whose images are in the social media fall into,” she explained referring to the patients which appear to be treated outside in the makeshift facility.
Kekana said the facility has resolved that no ambulances or would be turned away or diverted to other facilites as long as there are beds available. They have also undertaken to erect two more tents to increase capacity.
“We are urging communities not to be complacent. The non-pharmaceutical interventions of wearing of mask, good hand hygiene, sanitising, avoiding closed and crowded places remain central in the preventing the further spread of Covid-19.”